Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version



Published in Great Plains Quarterly 6:3 (Summer 1986). Copyright © 1986 Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


Background. It cannot be emphasized enough that the Soviet Union is a highlatitude country. Odessa on the Black Sea coast, one of Russia's southern cities, lies at a latitude of 46°N, comparable to that of Billings, Montana, and in fact is cooler in summer than Billings (Lydolph 1977b). Krasnodar in the Kuban District of the North Caucasus, probably the most productive region in the Soviet Union, compares latitudinally and climatically to St. Paul, Minnesota. Kharkov, in the northeastern Ukraine, compares to Winnipeg, Canada; in fact, Winnipeg experiences higher maximum temperatures in summer than Kharkov does. The central black earth region of the Russian Republic lies even farther north. Thus, most of the farmland of the Soviet Union is more comparable latitudinally and climatically to parts of Canada than to the United States. In the wheat lands of southwestern Siberia, Omsk, at a latitude of 55°, lies farther north than any agricultural settlement in Canada, except perhaps the Peace River Valley, which, of course, is only a restricted area. In these northern regions, the Soviets must consider not only moisture supply but always heat supply as well (Lydolph 1963).